Sports cars are becoming more expensive to develop since many of their components can’t be shared with volume models and they require specific tooling. And the volumes also don’t justify the investment.
This aspect has motivated automotive rivals to shed their differences and enter into partnerships and co-develop products using each other’s synergies. Investment wise and commercially it makes sense as carmakers have the capabilities to fine-tune individual preferences.
Toyota joined forces with BMW to bring the Supra back to market while BMW made a new Z4. With both brands successfully completing their assignments, Toyota wants to move forward with another sports car to join the upcoming fifth-generation Supra and the 86 in its line-up.
A new Celica or MR2 could fit the bill perfectly.The public confirmation of Toyota’s desire to build a third sports car comes after years of speculation the MR2 was gearing up for a fourth generation.
Toyota has renewed its trademark filing in March 2017 of the ‘Celica’ badge.
Masayuki Kai, Assistant Chief Engineer on the Supra project, has said that the Supra was the biggest name to bring back to reinvigorate the company’s performance credentials, but MR2 and Celica are also important.
“We want to have Celica back, we want to have the MR2 back. Now that we’ve brought Supra back, what will come next depends on the market needs,” he said.
Kai suggested if Toyota moves forward with a new Celica, it could return as an all-wheel-drive sports car to balance out Toyota’s rear-wheel-drive offerings. Both the 86 and high-performance Supra are rear wheel driven.
Another mid-engine MR2 is also possible with the right business case, Kai said.